Jeff Green | Aug 18, 2005
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Letters to the EditorAugust 18, 2005
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Letters to the Editor
Re: “What to do about bears”
Jeff Green’s article, “What To Do About Bears” (August 11, 2005) was the most useless tripe I have ever read on Black Bears. Well-intentioned though it may have been, notwithstanding the $12 admission fee to hear a retired MNR wildlife biologist, it simply isn’t accurate in the perception it conveys about this woodland resident, the Black Bear.
James Gary Shelton, a professional trainer of government park personnel in British Columbia, wrote an important book for anyone who wants to get in line with reality: “Bear Attacks–the Deadly Truth” (ISBN 0-9698099-1-3). I would like to give you the following sage insight from his book: “For the last 30 years our culture has embraced a belief system that portrays nature as benign and man as evil. Incorporated into this cultural paradigm is the concept that bears are shy, harmless animals that attack only when threatened or provoked....Bears have genetically-programmed types of aggressive behaviours relating to population regulation, survival defense, and predation. These behaviours can be, in many cases, directed towards people totally independent of any action the person takes. “Many of our modern bear biologists were educated in the anti-capitalist university atmosphere of the 1970s and 1980s. Some came out of school with a burning desire to save bears at all costs and have abandoned good science for the pseudo-science of preservationist biology. They use methodology incorporating biases that always underestimate a bear population and always overestimate the negative impact of human activity on bears. They fit well with those politicians who support research funding only for studies having predetermined outcomes.” (Preface) More people are killed annually in North America by Black Bears than by any other bear species. I have worked in the bush for John Blake Outfitters (Elliot Lake) setting up hunt camps for American spring bear hunters. I have been involved tracking and carrying out shot game. After you read the book cited above, the best advice I could give you is John Blake’s dictum that with black bears, EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED! -George Balogh
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